Although requirements vary, most employers look to hire medical transcriptionists who have had postsecondary training, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are one-year certificate programs and two-year associate degree programs in medical transcription. In addition to training in transcription, medical transcriptionists must also have a good understanding of anatomy and physiology, grammar, medical terminology and how to use word processing software.
Programs in medical transcription often include courses in medical terminology, anatomy, risk management, legal issues in health care documentation, punctuation, grammar and other related issues, notes BLS.gov. Some programs offer on-the-job experience, while students in medical fields, including medical secretaries and nurses, may only need to take refresher training and courses.
The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity certifies medical transcriptionists. However, certification is not required. Those seeking certification may become certified as registered healthcare documentation specialists or certified healthcare documentation specialists. These specialists must pass an exam as well as periodic retests and must seek continuing education credits to maintain their certifications.
In addition to training in medical transcription, transcriptionists should have good listening and critical thinking skills and be effective at time management. Writing skills and computer skills are also important to success as a medical transcriptionist.